You’ve worked up plans for your new home. You’ve found a log style you like. You’ve even set an overall budget. The hardest part of creating your dream home seems to be over.
But what about the cost of outfitting your home? Beyond the basics like walls, wiring, plumbing and labor, you have to decide how much you’ll be able to spend for essentials such as windows, and niceties like a whirlpool tub.
Because log homes are custom homes, it’s impossible to find a universal budget equation that you could easily apply in any market and for any floorplan or log style. Still, there are some steps you can take to get closer to a realistic number.
1. Look at Averages
One way to figure how much you can allocate for finishing your home is to look at what others have spent.
2. Consider Labor Costs
Labor costs can vary greatly, by geographic location, time of year and access to tools and talented craftsmen. Upscale amenities and materials also affect labor costs, because they usually require a more talented craftsman to install and complete them.
3. Assess the Options
Costs also vary according to the quality of the materials you use. Equipped with all the bells and whistles, a 1,200-square-foot log cabin can run three times as much as a larger home that is modestly appointed. What’s important is to realistically assess the factors affecting cost, notably the prices of the features and materials you want.
4. Prioritize and Pare
Even when you have a rough plan for allocating your budget, you will likely end up wrestling with choices on amenities and options. This is where you’ll need to make the tough choices.
To help in your decision process, start by making a list of the five things that are most important to you–based on your lifestyle today. Weigh your lifestyle and priorities.
THE MULTIPLE MYTH
Some log home producers suggest that the cost of completing your home will be a multiple of the price of your log package. Depending on which company you talk to, that multiple can run from three to five times the cost of the package. However, these multiples rarely translate from one company to another, and they don’t take into account your personal tastes.
This said, to provide an idea of the percentage of the costs that go into completing a log home, we contacted M&T Mortgage Corporation of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Loan officers selected 15 construction loans at random and analyzed draw schedules to determine how buyers allocated their resources. The figures from M&T include labor and materials for everything from initial site work to buttoning up the house and obtaining a certification of occupancy. No land costs are included.
The packages were from 15 different producers. In seven cases, the home buyer hired a general contractor to complete construction; the other eight buyers acted as their own general contractor and hired subcontractors to complete the home. On average, the homes were 2,200 square feet. Analysis of these 15 homes reveals these averages:
Site work: 35 percent of construction budget (includes clearing the site, excavation, and installing driveway, foundation, utilitieselectric, water, sewerand landscaping).
Rough mechanicals: 12.5 percent of total construction cost (includes plumbing, electric, and heating and cooling systems).
Finish work: 12.5 percent of total construction cost (includes stairs, kitchens, baths, flooring and trim work).